This column was originally published in The Journal Record on August 4, 2016.
By Phillips Murrah Director Sally A. Hasenfratz
Commercial real estate development is a complex undertaking and must be managed with precision.
Taking a project from land acquisition to a sale or lease requires time, money and expertise. To ensure the project runs smoothly, accurately and on deadline, a team must come together and function at a high level.
The purpose of this column is to identify key players and examine their responsibilities.
- Developers. The developer is the team leader with an overarching visionary concept and the ability to control each stage of the project in order to move it to completion. Without developers, there are no projects.
- Title agents and surveyors. Developers work with title agents to ensure the property is clear of unintended encumbrances and to identify easements and other documents that may be recorded against the property. Surveyors then survey the land and create a graphic representation that shows the location of the project, including the structure’s orientation, access ways, boundaries, easements and related matters.
- Architects and engineers. Architects and engineers translate developers’ vision into detailed plans by which the project will be constructed. They create the instructions on how to accurately bring the project into physical existence.
- Builders and contractors. Builders and contractors start the process of construction. Guided by plans created by the architects and engineers, and led by a general contractor who oversees the day-to-day construction site, these team members physically build the project.
- Regulators. Though not necessarily part of the team, regulators are important components of a project. Select team members work with regulators to make sure the property is zoned for the intended use and all necessary approvals are obtained, including building permits and the like.
- Lenders. Lenders play a vital role on the team by funding the project. To ensure funds are properly utilized, lenders have a certain degree of oversight in the construction process.
- Users. Typically, commercial projects are developed for sale or lease to meet the specific needs of users and occupants of the project.
- Coordinators. Many of the team’s activities overlap or occur in a sequential fashion. Attorneys work with developers to help coordinate the process and make sure that the necessary contracts are in place.